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Why Is Homeschooling Not Allowed In Germany

Homeschooling has been around for centuries, but its legality and proliferation has varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Germany is one jurisdiction where homeschooling is illegal and from time to time, authorities have acted to ensure that families don’t take the law into their own hands.

Overview of German Law

Paragraph 1: German law is quite clear when it comes to education. According to Article 7 of the Basic Law, “the entire school system is under the supervision of the state.

” This applies to elementary, secondary and higher education as well – all of which must be evaluated and monitored by German authorities. In general, German law mandates children between the ages of six and eighteen to attend some form of schooling if they are not already in vocational training. The only viable exception is stated in Article 9 of the Basic Law: “Parents have the right to decide on the religious and philosophical upbringing of their children.

”Paragraph 2: But it is important to note that Article 9 is not unrestricted. German courts have consistently ruled that the state’s interest of providing children with an adequate education – one which is rational and non-discriminatory – takes precedence over the parent’s right to religious or philosophical upbringing.

It has also been ruled that providing adequate education is not a mere “pedagogical task” but is an “inescapable part of the society’s structure of state and law. ” These findings have limited the scope of the provision in Article 9, making the total ban on homeschooling in Germany legally more tenable. Paragraph 3: German courts have also deemphasized the great weight parents give to their views on religion and philosophy.

German authorities have repeatedly noted that parents and guardians cannot convey such abstract philosophies to children in an objective and impartial manner. Indeed, the worry has been that homeschooling may result in an erosion of Germany’s social values, while fostering an environment that might encourage religious extremism or philosophical radicalism. There has been an equal unease with respect to children being supervised by their parents if they are out of school and essentially unsupervised.

Government Discussions

Paragraph 1: In recent years, the German government has discussed initiatives to allow homeschooling in limited scenarios (e. g.

tuition based homeschooling, or even, complete unrestricted homeschooling). The Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVG), the German Constitutional Court, has also inquired into the matter to evaluate if the government is appropriately balancing the constitutional rights of parents and the interest of the state. Paragraph 2:Amongst special interest groups, there have been several proposals, who have suggested selective relaxation of the policy.

Some have suggested that parents may have the right to decide on the religious and philosophical upbringing of their children, but its implementation should be subject to strict monitoring and regulation. Importantly, any apparent education program must be able to support “values of democracy and social coexistence.

” This way, people would be able to celebrate coexistence by ensuring that education promotes general values, while simultaneously allowing individuals to celebrate their personal preferences Paragraph 3: In addition, educational initiatives should be compatible with previous legal rulings and legislation. For instance, parents would still need to ensure that their children seek adequate schooling and that any educational outliers, such as homeschooling, do not lead to the erosion of public values or social extremist thinking. To achieve this, they must be willing to provide detailed records of their activities, allowing the state to monitor their progress, evaluate their performance and if needed, intervene.

Recent Developments

Paragraph 1: More recently, a discussion paper was submitted to the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVG) which suggested that homeschooling should be permissible, if certain qualifications are met. But earlier this year, the Constitutional Court held that it is the underlying state interest that has precedence.

This means that in their decision, the Court reluctantly held that banning homeschooling was a justifiable limitation on parental rights, since it is “globally accepted” today that the state has a preemptive responsibility to educate its children – something that cannot be fulfilled efficiently via homeschooling. Paragraph 2: Consequently, homeschooling remains prohibited in Germany. From time to time, parents take it upon themselves to teach their children, which has resulted in authorities intervening and on occasions, filing criminal charges (though cases resulting in conviction have been quite rare).

The government also reiterates that it is willing to discuss the issue, but an absolute ban on homeschooling is necessary to ensure that children receive an adequate education and grow up with strong bonds with their society. Paragraph 3: Nonetheless, homeschoolers continue to strive for a more lenient policy, arguing that parents should be allowed to write curricula for their children and take matters into their own hands if they are dissatisfied with standard schooling. They also point out that Germany’s long history of homeschooling did not result in any significant social unrest and did not harm public values or enforced any extremist thinking.

This is why they are actively pushing for a reformed system, where the scope of permitted homeschooling is broadened and regulated.


In conclusion, homeschooling remains prohibited in Germany due to government regulations, which prioritize the public education system. This can be seen as a reasonable limitation since it allows German authorities to ensure that all students are getting a nondiscriminatory education, while making sure that no extremist thinking or radicalism is developing. Despite the recent debates, homeschooling is still seen as an illegal activity and parents who fail to comply with the law, may be subject to criminal charges.

While some are still pushing for a more relaxed regulatory framework, homeschooling remains prohibited for the time being in Germany.

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